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#2046336 - 03/11/13 04:12 AM Beethoven's dynamic markings
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1477
Frequently in the Beethoven violin sonata I'm playing, Beethoven marks a p on the downbeat of a measure following a f passage, even though the passage itself ends on the downbeat. (see p. 3 (as labelled in the score), system 3, ms. 5-6 for an example; see also p. 22, system 3, ms. 2 & 6 )

Is the first beat of the measure really supposed to be a subito piano, or does the new dynamic start on the notes following it? I feel it's kind of anticlimactic (and difficult) to do it on the downbeat.

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#2046362 - 03/11/13 06:51 AM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6592
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Are you playing out of an Urtext? If it's like that in an Urtext edition (if you wanna be really sure, see if you can find his manuscript scanned online!!), I assume you should do it exactly how it's written.

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#2046399 - 03/11/13 09:28 AM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1477
It's like that in Henle, so I then went and checked the "first edition" on imslp and it looked like that in the score. I didn't know if that was a thing Beethoven always did, and it's "common knowledge" to play it differently.

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#2046608 - 03/11/13 06:12 PM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4681
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
I think that's a pretty common Beethoven thing...
_________________________

"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."

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#2046669 - 03/11/13 08:37 PM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13837
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Yep. Gotta do the p.

I love that sonata, though. Lots of fun, but a lot harder than people think.
_________________________
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#2046704 - 03/11/13 10:03 PM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20964
Loc: New York
I agree with everybody that indeed it's a "p," right there.

But I think there's a different legitimate question: Can there be some kind of diminuendo leading up to it, like at the very end?

Most would probably say no, but IMO it's not out of the question; the absence of a diminuendo indication doesn't mean you can't do it. I did play the piece, a long time ago, and it's possible that the violinist and I did do it.
I don't think I'd do it now, but I wouldn't rule out trying it both ways and seeing. And BTW, in such a situation, even if I wound up preferring it with the diminuendo, if the violinist said no, I'd relent very easily, and probably with a mock apology for having even thought of it. ha

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#2046712 - 03/11/13 10:19 PM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13837
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I've played it a couple of times, and my recollection is that at the brisk tempo of the piece, a slight diminuendo before the p still creates the impression of a subito p and eases its execution.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2046720 - 03/11/13 10:29 PM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Kreisler]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20964
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I've played it a couple of times, and my recollection is that at the brisk tempo of the piece, a slight diminuendo before the p still creates the impression of a subito p and eases its execution.

An alternate way, without the diminuendo, is to put your bodies into sudden intense spasm for a split second before the p. ha

Victor Borge or Peter Schickele would have had a good time demonstrating it....

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#2046758 - 03/12/13 12:10 AM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Kreisler]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1477


Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Yep. Gotta do the p.

I love that sonata, though. Lots of fun, but a lot harder than people think.


OK, I guess that's enough votes for the p. I'll keep trying, with a diminuendo. Right now I'm cursing the left hand part in the 3rd movement. It's just not possible to get it up to tempo. Actually all the tricky spots in the movement I can sometimes to flawlessly, and other times I get completely stuck and have no idea why it's not working. Sigh. Inconsistency.

MarkC - my body is already locked up before I hit the p, there's nothing else to spasm!

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#2046762 - 03/12/13 12:18 AM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Polyphonist Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 8855
Loc: New York City
Even though the decision has been made already, I'm still going to solidify it and throw in another vote for the p... smile
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2046764 - 03/12/13 12:26 AM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1477
Arghhh!

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#2046770 - 03/12/13 12:48 AM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6592
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Arghhh!


Orange Soda King!

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#2046780 - 03/12/13 01:15 AM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Arghhh]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13837
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
MarkC - my body is already locked up before I hit the p, there's nothing else to spasm!


You have to practice lifting on the C#.

And at some point, you're going to have to go back and learn Clementi or Mozart and figure out how to play scales and passagework with traditional elegant, classical phrasing. (That's what's fussy about this Beethoven sonata, it's not vigorously romantic extreme Beethoven, it's elegant classical Beethoven with a few surprises here and there.)

As for the last movement, the most important marking in the score is leggiermente. If you only observe one marking. let it be that one.

Also, practice those tricky LH bits (like in measure 13) by leaving out the middle note and focusing on keeping the thumb light. Learn the same fingering pattern in the RH on a G major triad, then practice both hands together as a mirror image - let your RH teach your LH how to do it.

And remember - at this point, Beethoven's violin sonatas are very much duo sonatas. The piano part is every bit as difficult as the violin part, if not more difficult. (And what's worse, there's a minimum speed at which a violinist can achieve the right bow-stroke for the last movement. If this were a solo sonata, you could just take a slower tempo, but alas, those darn violin bows!)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2046988 - 03/12/13 01:29 PM Re: Beethoven's dynamic markings [Re: Orange Soda King]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1477
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Arghhh!


Orange Soda King!


Ok, now this made me laugh laugh

Thanks Kreisler for the additional tips. Hopefully they can help me get through the recital next Saturday. Also, on the title page of the first edition in IMSLP, the sonata is called a piano sonata with violin accompaniment.

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